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The Black Sea Grain export corridor deal has been extended for 120 days just before it was due to expire on 19 November, AgriCensus reported from an official statement from the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure.

Although there had been hopes that the corridor would be extended for a much longer period, confirmation of the extension provided certainty for the rest of the year, the 17 November report said.

In addition to the 120-day extension, the agreement also confirmed that the port of Mykolaiv was not included in the deal, following speculation that it could be reopened since Russian troops had been pushed out of the Kherson region.

“The initiative for safe transport of agricultural products across the Black Sea has been extended for another 120 days. This decision was just taken in Istanbul. The United Nations and Turkey remain the guarantors of the initiative,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure said in its 17 November statement.

Proposals for improving the efficiency of the corridor were also made, the ministry said.

With vessels currently facing congestion waiting for inbound and outbound inspections in Istanbul, the rate of inspections was falling below the planned 10 vessels/day, AgriCensus wrote.

Measures discussed by market participants included improvements to the inspection process and proposals to increase the number of teams – a measure that had shown good results when Russia walked out of the deal in October and the remaining parties had increased teams to 10.

Those measures had allowed teams to inspect up to 40 vessels/day, the report said.

Another proposal discussed was the elimination of the requirement to inspect outbound vessels as they left the Black Sea.

Russian authorities had requested inspections to ensure vessels trading into Ukraine were not carrying military equipment or other war supplies, but some in the trade had said that it made no sense to check vessels leaving the region.

Since the deal was signed in July, Ukraine has exported around 11.1M tonnes of agricultural goods, including 4.6M tonnes of corn, 3.1M tonnes of wheat, and around 730,000 tonnes of sunflower oil, AgriCensus said.